Natural Disasters Archives - State of the Planet

Hurricane maria's destruction in puerto rico

Puerto Rico Faces a Long Road to a Sustainable Future

Puerto Rico suffered an estimated $94 billion or more in damage, on top of an already sagging economy and $74 billion in debt. The island needs a total reboot. Can it do it sustainably?

by |November 30, 2017
tree ducks flooding

Why Do Floods Sometimes Happen on Sunny Days?

Some towns and cities can get soaked even when the skies are dry—and these so-called sunny day floods are on the rise thanks to climate change.

by |November 29, 2017

Catastrophe and Community

Natural disaster reconstruction will not be easy, but our greatest assets in the rebuilding efforts are our communities and our common values.

by |November 8, 2017
homes destroyed by hurricane

The Disaster of Disaster Reconstruction

First responders have learned how to reduce the death toll from natural disasters, but America’s long-term response and approach to reconstruction suffers from uncertainty, bureaucracy and inadequate resources of every kind. Until we understand that disaster reconstruction is not part of emergency response, it will remain a disaster.

by |November 1, 2017
home being elevated

New York Is Still Feeling the Effects of Hurricane Sandy, Five Years Later

In October 2012, Sandy devastated large swaths of the city with floods and fire. How well have we recovered? And will we be ready for the next big storm?

by |October 23, 2017

Mumbai May Be Vulnerable to Future Hurricanes

If a serious cyclone were to strike Mumbai, the results could be catastrophic, says a study underway at Columbia.

by |October 3, 2017

Puerto Rico’s Peril and Potential

The federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was far too slow and small to deal with the massive scale of the disaster, but the future potential for Puerto Rico could be achieved by constructing a more resilient, storm-resistant built environment.

by |October 2, 2017

We Need a Government Capable of Building Climate Resilient Infrastructure

Vulnerable infrastructure is a crisis that calls for enhanced governmental capacity to address a new, national issue of national security.

by |September 25, 2017
downed power lines

In Florida and Texas, Keeping the Lights on Means Planning for Climate Change

New York’s lessons from Hurricane Sandy can help in the wake of Harvey and Irma.

by |September 15, 2017

Houston’s Post-Harvey Toxic Mess

If we are to maintain the way of life we enjoy while maintaining a safe and healthy environment, we need to require more careful management of toxic substances.

by |September 11, 2017